9 Primary Industries
From the beginning of the Commonwealth era in 1911 primary industries were regarded as the key to development, growth and closer settlement in the Northern Territory. The plan was for the pastoral industry to, firstly, occupy and develop rural lands, and at a later stage the Commonwealth would resume some of those lands for more intensive development and occupation by increased numbers of settlers. The resumed land would be used for mixed farming or agricultural purposes.
Agriculture was seen as being a major component in the path to closer settlement. Yet many initiatives in the ensuing years designed to promote agriculture ended disastrously. The distinctly seasonal nature of the Top End's weather, poor quality soils, profusion of white ants, and distance to major markets all conspired to retard the development of agriculture and other primary industries.